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Swing and a miss

Jun 17, 2010, 9:50 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Roger Bernadina and the Nationals were no match for Detroit's pitching staff.

DETROIT — Remember all those good vibes surrounding the Nationals one week ago? Yeah, they're gone. Vanquished into thin air during a 1-5 road trip through Cleveland and Detroit that included a sweep at the hands of the Tigers by a combined score of 23-10.

"I think [Detroit] is a really, really good team," Adam Dunn said. "And I think they just beat the crap out of us. They out-pitched us, out-hit us and just flat-out beat us."

No debate here. The Nationals were inferior to the Tigers in every department, rarely looking like they could compete with a team that currently owns the American League's sixth-best record. (Shudder to think what might happen if Washington played the Yankees or Rays right now.)

There are any number of ways to measure the disparity between these two teams during this series, but here's perhaps the best one. Detroit starting pitchers recorded 27 strikeouts while issuing only two walks (one of them intentional). The strikeout-to-walk ratio for Washington's starting pitchers: 4-to-11.

"Every starter they've got throws 100 mph," Ian Desmond said. "It just seems like over here in the American League, they're growing 100-mph, hard-throwing, fastball pitchers on a tree in the backyard."

The Nationals, of course, have their own homegrown flamethrower. Unfortunately, Stephen Strasburg can only pitch once every five days, even though this club could sure use him more often.

Washington doesn't have another strikeout pitcher in its current rotation, and very few of them waiting in the wings. Scott Olsen was striking guys out before his surgically repaired shoulder acted up, but there's no telling when (or if) he'll return. Ross Detwiler has theRead more ยป

  1. Anonymous - Jun 17, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    The one positive note from today's game was Bernadina's throw to second behind a runner for a putout. We all know that Morgan would have airmailed that ball to home (or to the backstop) in a futile attempt to get the runner coming home. Hopefully, that was noted in the dugout and we will migrate to an everyday outfield of Wililngham/Bernadina/Morse. I think it's time that Nyjer went the way of Nook, Lastings, etc.

  2. Steve - Jun 17, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Mark,It's been a rough 31 games after their surprising start. It seems the poor starting pitching is catching up with the Nats right now. I think Atilano's weaknesses have been exposed, so he needs to adjust or go back to AAA. It's a shame Olsen got injured and we never got to see the real Marquis.The team also has some issues in CF, unless Morgan gets back to his normal self. And the fielding must return to at least average MLB levels.A question, do you think carrying 12 pitchers hurts this team? When they had 11, Riggleman has enormous flexibility to get good match-ups at the plate late in games. It seems lost now.I think 75 wins is still a reasonable goal for this club, but only if some of the injured starters (Wang, Detwiler, Marquis) return on schedule. I've almost given up on anything more.

  3. Sec$39.99 - Jun 17, 2010 at 11:08 PM

    Not your fault, Mark, but this is old news. They have a stable of #4, 5 starters, many of whom are hurt more often than not. We know this. Seeing good teams is good for them and us both, but it isn't always much fun seeing exactly HOW you're not competitive, empirically demonstrated.

  4. Anonymnous8 - Jun 17, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    Today's game can be summed up to more sloppy play and making another pitcher look like an ACE! At this point, I am trying to look ahead.Dunn played well and I have been banging his drum all season that the Nats have to extend him so they can concentrate in the off-season on there 2 big problems which is 2nd base and RF as Bernadina absolutely can be the CF this team needs and Nyjer can be the backup Willie Harris role.I think the starting rotation next year will be very good if we see JZim like he was at the beginning of 2009 and Detwiler like the end of 2009 and with Strasburg and 2 others to step up this has a makings for a good 2011 so the Nats have to plug holes which is 2nd base and either CF or RF and backup catcher depending on JFlo's health.

  5. SonnyG10 - Jun 17, 2010 at 11:17 PM

    This road trip has just been painful to watch. It is going to be a struggle until we get some more reliable starting pitching. I had high hopes of Nyjer doing well and really root for him, but maybe Anon June 17 6:31 is right.

  6. anonymous8 - Jun 17, 2010 at 11:27 PM

    Anon and SonnyG10, I am not a Nyjer supporter but I see that he is getting his groove back as he is getting the bunt down which is part of his arsenal. He just doesn't play smart which is my big knock on him.Also, to comment on the people who think Kearns now is good will see that he will regress to his 2006 stats of a .260 hitter with a .800 OPS. Acta will overuse him and his numbers will suffer. Yes, he can play better than his .195 batting average from last year while he was hurt and confused most of last season.

  7. Doc - Jun 17, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    You can't loose the assortment of starters that the Nats have lost since ST, and still be competitive. I hope Jimmy Riggs keeps to-day's OF alignment. Nyjer can become the new utility outfielder.Do you think that SS has a pitchin' bro….cousin…sister?

  8. JayB - Jun 17, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    Mark,I thought Stan told us that we have the envy of all other MLB clubs in our stable of young starting pitching? Stan said they were knocking down the doors trying to be us to trade for our young pitching….What happened to that?

  9. swang - Jun 17, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    JayB you must be misremembering. Neither StanK or Rizzo would even contemplate trading away young pitching. Are you kidding me?

  10. JayB - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    Nope Stan said many times this past year that teams were banging at the door to trade for your pitching and that our young starting pitching was the envy of the league. I always though it was an over sell by Stan and that our young pitching is a load of #5 guys at best (other than Zim(NN) and SS). If Stan can be trusted it means we should be trading it all because Lannan, Craig S, Mock, Louis A, Bally, Chico, etc are at best #5 types for a winning organization and the league is overvaluing our farm system. Of course it could mean Stan will say anything to sell tickets too.

  11. WillC - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    Wow… what a horrible series… Detroit is a good team but the Nats couldn't even stay competitive with them. There is no excuse for that. Regarding the strating pitching, we simply need more patience. Zimmermann, Detwiler, Wang, Marquis and Olsen are all healing. Big drawback is that by the time these guys get back, it may already be too late to get back into the race. I do firmly believe that Atilano is last year's Shairon Martis. Whoever comes up next, I think Atilano should be the one moved to create space.Only can only hope, Lannan's claim that he's found the reason for his struggles is true.

  12. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:35 AM

    DC Diehard.In the early fifies, with the old Braves it was:"Spahn and Sain, and two days of rain"The Orioles in the early nineties:"MacDonald and Musina, and nothing in betweena"Now for the Nats:"Strasburg brings heat, wait five days, repeat"(Okay, you think of a rhyme, then!)

  13. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    Koufax had Drysdale? Pick up Cliff Lee, sign the lefty long-term and dump Marquis, and all is said and done once Zimmermann appears back on the scene. Nuff said.

  14. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    And, yeppers sec $39.99 Morgan in place of Willie Harris where Riggleman finds ways to insert this guy into the lineup ala Guzman. Yep, get rid of Willie, get rid of Guz, they won't be coming back next year after they help create this debacle. I'd rather see Espinosa at this point.

  15. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    Like it or not, the Nats have returned to the Manny Acta era.

  16. Mark Zuckerman - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:47 AM

    Steve: In a perfect world, sure, they'd rather have 11 pitchers and an extra bat on the bench. But the way the starters are going these days, they pretty much need all the relievers. Besides, is there a bat at Syracuse right now you're dying to have available to pinch-hit in a tough situation?

  17. JayB - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:04 AM

    Anything is better than Willie Harris….Orr would be better…..anyone off the waiver wire would be better than Harris at this point.

  18. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:22 AM

    "Four games uneven then call for Saint Stephen."

  19. Doc - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:54 AM

    "Livo and Stephen, and three guys were not keepin'"—guess I'd better not give up my day job!

  20. Cwj - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:37 AM

    Strasburg will deliver a win and break another losing streak. Us Nats fans should be guessing how many Ks he'll end up with…I'll say 10 in 6 innings.

  21. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    Cwj….10 Ks in six innings! I also think he will be close to that. AND remember, SS said he is not even trying to strike out those guys! He strikes out more by accident than the rest of the SP on purpose.

  22. Grandstander - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    With Stephen, we're believin', with Livo, we don't know, but the rest? what a mess!I will also retain my day job…

  23. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    "Strasburg, Zimmermann, Day 3, can Strasburg pitch again?-longterm

  24. natsfan1a - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Livo, Stras, and then no mas? (Yeah, day job. Got it.)

  25. natsfan1a - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    One day of Stephen and then the "fans" are leavin'?

  26. Ernie - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Strasburg, then Livo…Hey, what's on the Tivo?

  27. natsfan1a - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Strasburg, then Livo,hey, where'd the "Nats" fans go? :-)

  28. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Anything is better than Willie Harris….Orr would be better…..anyone off the waiver wire would be better than Harris at this point.That would be veddddddy interesting but ALSO STOOPID! First, Riggleman is having enough trouble find a spot for a real bat: Mike or Michael Morse! That's because he must play Guzman no matter what, even though he will likely be gone by after this season, he must get "Willie Harris going" because he will need him? But no Nyjer Morgan who is far more important. And if anyone's coming up you have to know its JMax. Even though at this point Boomer Whiting is outplaying him. We really don't even know if Kennedy can hit … Riggleman hardly plays him in deference to Guzman who he found places to start all over the field! No wonder the Nats lead the majors in errors!!! Guzman may have cost just as many runs and he helped create when he was hitting. Riggleman's guys are going to play JayB. You have to get used to that until they get someone like Jim Leyland who looks at performance before clubhouse shenanigans.

  29. Sec$39.99, tonite 222 - Jun 18, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    no no no … Strasburg and Livo; hope Roy gets the heave-ho.

  30. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Seriously, 1:40 on a Friday of a game and no new blog posting???

  31. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    HaikuStrasburg is pitchingWithout whom Nats be stinkingTonight curly W!

  32. natsfan1a - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    um, Roy?

  33. natsfan1a - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Well, Mark *did* just get back in town, right? Probably has dust bunny duty at home. :-)

  34. natsfan1a - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    hehe, was just reading through the game thread from last night. What a coincidence. I was making lame Monty Python jokes to my tv set as I watched. :-)—3:12 p.m. — Now on the mound for the Tigers: A pitcher named Ni. Lame Monty Python jokes coming in 3 … 2 … 1 …

  35. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    "They have a stable of #4, 5 starters, many of whom are hurt more often than not.""I wish their starters were # 4 & 5 caliber. They aren't. The Nats have a stable of double and triple A starters. When they decide to spend money to fix the problem, it always ends up to be a pitcher who is damaged goods.

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